Saturday, 30 January 2016

52 Writing Prompts for Fan Fiction Authors

Fan fiction doesn't often get a lot of praise. For the most part, the life of a fan fiction writer is a hidden one, scorned and isolated. Their art isn't seen as art. It isn't seen as a tribute to whatever their original source may be.

Yet fan fiction can be a good exercise for both new and established writers. It gives them a ready prepared canon in which to exercise ideas. And while I can see the legal implications that come from writing fan fiction, I can also see its benefits. Community, a growth in confidence and technique and, for some writers, the opportunity to put their original ideas in to print.

The downside to fan fiction is that it is set in an already established world. Some writers find it difficult to break away from the canon of their fandom and often find themselves repeating the same ideas in order to be creative.

This series of prompts is designed to get the creative juices flowing and be easily interpreted by either new or established fan fiction writers. If you use any of these prompts, please feel free to drop a link to your writing on the Facebook page:

You can download the prompts, for free, as either a PDF for your e-reader or as a printable list.

Happy writing!


Sunday, 24 January 2016

Signs From Above

What is it about this world that you love? The sun? The snow? Cold, frosty mornings?

For me, it's the rain. I've loved the sound of rainfall ever since I was a child. There's something peaceful and relaxing about the sound of rain pattering on the roof. It helps me feel connected to our beautiful world.

Way before You Tube and MP3 downloads, I had to wait until it was raining to get my fix. I'd scour the weather reports, waiting for that perfect summer's day so I could sit beneath my tree. I much preferred the summer storms. There would be leaves on the tree and it would be warmer. I could sit on the grass with no shoes on and feel the stray raindrops that wriggled between the branches on my toes.

As I moved around the country so I had to find new places to sit and watch the world go by during those rainy moments. Sometimes it was the garden of a surgery just along the road from where I lived. Or the trees that surrounded the market square. There was the gazebo in the back garden or the conservatory attached to the house. I needed to find places where I could sit and switch my brain off.

With the internet, we're now able to find relaxation videos of every kind. Many of them run for several hours.

Two years ago, I went to Las Vegas. One of the things I wanted to witness was one of their incredible storms. Unfortunately, I was going in April and their storm season tends to be between December and March.

During my stay, we took a trip to LA. We drove between the two cities and, on our return to Vegas, something remarkable happened. As we were unloading the car, several spots of rain landed on my back. The friends I was travelling with also felt it yet there was only a little haze in the sky. It was a beautiful moment and one I'll treasure forever.

In August 2015, I travelled to London to do research for a book I'm writing. One of the central themes of this story is the British weather. The protagonist enjoys nothing more than sitting beneath the awning of his shop and watching the summer storms pass overhead. They're the scenes I've enjoyed writing the most, watching as the rain becomes a metaphor for the changing of this character's life.

Watching the rain from Kensington Gardens

I stayed in the exact area of London that my character lives in. I wanted to know what he'd see, hear, and smell on a daily basis. I wanted to know where he'd shop and who he'd bump in to. While the likes of Google Street View is great for research, it's nothing compared to actually being there.

I checked the weather forecast before I went as the British weather can be extremely indecisive. Rain had been forecast for one of the two days I was there and I couldn't have been happier. I excitedly packed an umbrella and waterproofs and prepared to spend a long time sitting in Hyde Park and watching the weather.

And rain it did. The day was the perfect replica of the ones I remember from my childhood; warm and sunny before the sky became overcast and the heavens opened. I spent several hours doing something I hadn't done for many years; sitting beneath a tree and listening to the rain. As it abated, I returned to my hotel, opened the sash window and waited for it to begin again.

Tea - check
Notebook - check
Rain - check

My hotel backed onto a small park and I was blessed with a room that not only overlooked this green space but that also had a small balcony. As the storm returned for round two, I stepped out on to the balcony and nestled myself beneath the protective cover of the eaves. Listening to London in the midst of a rainstorm, with its never-ending traffic and people talking, was beautiful. For me, it was peaceful, relaxing and inspiring. I came home feeling cleansed and ready to finish the story I'd started so many months before.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Author Interview - Linda Bloodworth

Hi, Linda! Welcome to the blog. Please tell us a little about yourself.

You've just published your debut novel, A Raven's Touch. What's it about?
It’s about friendship, magic, and determination. My main character, Justice is bullied in high school and if it wasn’t for her friend Moira, she wouldn’t have anyone. Together they go through a magic laced adventure discovering more about themselves. Along the way Justice meets Darien, who adds fuel to the fire by teasing her with her real identity. No spoilers, but Justice has to avenge a family death and embrace her birthright. She is called to slay a demon, and save Darien, all before Hell breaks loose.

How did you find the self-publishing process for A Raven’s Touch? 
At first I thought, oh, just get the book out there, and use Amazon, but then I discovered Pronoun. For those who don’t know, Pronoun is a self-publishing platform that allows indie authors to distribute to multiple retailers and monitor the sales from one dashboard. You also get a higher percentage of royalties, plus complete rights. A Raven’s Touch was already formatted for Amazon, so formatting it for Pronoun was very simple. 

I enjoyed not having to go through a variety of formatting for each platform where Pronoun just asks for one. That also cuts down on formatting costs if you use a service. Using Pronoun is a breeze; their personal customer service has been there to hold my hand with any questions, which is an added bonus! I like the user interface; it’s clean and simple. 

What advice would you give to anyone who's planning on self-publishing? Have you picked up any tricks along the way?
Start your social media accounts early. As soon as you even think you’re going to write something get into the community. There aren’t really any ‘tricks’. It’s about being you. Just be you and you’ll find the good people who get your vibe. 

Like all of us, you have a daily life. What is your writing schedule like? Do you block off time for yourself to write? 
My schedule is predominately taken over by my day job. Usually, I am up at the gym and at my work desk by 7am. I tend to write from 7-8:45, and then on the weekends my husband has graciously accepted that I will write either Saturday or Sunday all day. Until the day comes that I can be a full time writer, this is what I have to do, and I don’t really mind the early morning writing. I find it’s easier to get ideas ‘on paper’ when I have a clear head. By paper I mean Scrivener. I don’t really write long hand anymore. When I’m stuck on an idea I use my whiteboard, and that’s about as much physical writing I will do.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
What is this magical time you speak of? I do love to read. My favourite authors are: Stephen King, Philip K. Dick, Peter Straub, Ray Bradbury, I could go on. Lately, I’ve been trying to read more of my indie author peers. When I’m not reading I like to get out of the city on small day trips and hang out with my husband and our fur babies. 

What inspired you to start writing?
I can’t say I really had something that inspired me. Writing is just in me. I assumed everyone did this. Early in school when I was assigned to write a diary for class I ended up writing a play instead. The stories have always been in my head. 

Do you find your environment affects when and how you write?
Most often my environment is at home, with a cat sitting on my behind, while my dog flanks my side. I tend to write lying down on my stomach. I’ve always written this way, even throughout elementary school and college, I feel much better this way. Luckily, at work, I have a couch I can use as they let me work however I want. For sure my environment will inspire me. If I’m in a cafĂ© I will feel more independent and perhaps write a death scene with a little pity for the characters. If I’m in a boring room with white walls and no window I’m more likely to let desolation creep into my writing voice. It’s all relative to where I am and how I feel there. 

What advice would you give to anyone who's planning on writing a novel or publishing a book?
Do what feels right for you. Don’t listen to people who say you should always have a HEA, or people who say they hate cliffhangers, forget all that. Whatever feels right is the best solution. 

What’s next for you? Will we be seeing more books in the future?
I am working on the sequel to A Raven’s Touch. Whether the series will be three or four books is undetermined, but for sure the adventure won’t stop for a while.

Finally, where can we find you, and A Raven's Touch, online?

You can order A Raven's Touch through a variety of retailers:
Google Play:

Hang out with me here as well:

Monday, 4 January 2016

In With The New

2015 was a year of ups and downs. Many bad things happened, both personally and globally. At the same time, many great things happened, too.

More often than not, when something good happens, I find my brain overriding and thinking, “Well, it can't be this good forever. Something bad has to happen soon. I wonder what it'll be?”. It's a thought cycle that I've been trapped in for a long and one that, over the past year, I've been trying to combat.

Some of these thought processes are a result of the medication being withdrawn. I've found myself in a world that I'm not sure how to deal with and the snap reactions have become an instant way of responding to how I'm feeling at that moment.

One of the things I'll be doing throughout 2016 is trying to focus more on the positive than the negative. To help me, I've devised a number of ways in which combat those thoughts that crop up the moment something good happens. The list includes:

  • Keeping a journal of the positive things that happen in a day. It can be as small as a good cup of tea or something as large as a new contract.
  • Doing things I enjoy rather than putting them off until a later date. That's something I'm guilty of. I'll keep pushing myself to work all the while telling myself that I'll read that book, make that call, or take that walk another day. Now I'm actively taking time out to do something I like doing.
  • Spending time with people whose company I enjoy and avoiding those I don't.
  • Spending a few moments every day reminding myself that I am a good person.
  • Focusing on the bigger picture of what I want to do with my life.
  • Journaling about my fears and self doubts. I've found that writing them down is a way of diminishing their impact on my life.
  • Enlisting a professional to help me organise my thoughts and see around the darkness in my mind.
  • Reminding myself to think “What's the best that can happen?” instead of “What's the worst that can happen?”.
  • Recognising when these thoughts are going to arise and saying, “I don't need you any more. You are no longer a part of my life.” Which leads me on to:
  • Website blockers to lock access to the sites I find myself becoming angry at (yet can't seem to stop reading). I use LeechBlock on Firefox and StayFocusd on Google Chrome. StayFocusd is so good that it even blocks search results that contain your words from your forbidden URLs! On my phone, I use Apple's own blocker which can be found in the settings. It allows you to block certain sites and, while it is easy to navigate around, the reminder that you need to put in your passcode to access the website is a good reminder that you don't want to go there.

Breaking this cycle has been notoriously difficult for me and one that has been a long time coming. Oddly, I enjoyed the feeling of the negative thoughts that pulsed through me. They made me feel good in a strange kind of way. But, as I've grown, I've realised that I don't need them and that they, and I when I'm in that state, are contributing nothing good to the world. I want to be putting something positive in to the world and the person that I was twelve months ago is no longer the person I want to be. It's time to walk the path of my own creation.

May your 2016 be beautiful, peaceful, and filled with all that you desire.